R is not a normal child. Normal children hug stuffed animals as they drift off to sleep. They have a favorite doll they bring to bed with them each night. While she does have an attachment to a particular blanket, and occasionally asks for her “Baby” to sleep with her, she has quite a different requirement for bedtime comfort.
Every night, she chooses a book – or three – that must accompany her to bed. They must be placed just so, propped up around her head so she can see the covers. Sometimes, when Dave and I check on her before our own bed time, we’ll find she’s plucked one or more of the books from their arrangement and is either clutching it tightly or sleeping on it awkwardly.
The child loves books. And I think it’s awesome.
We started reading to R the very first night she came home from the hospital, mostly because we wanted to establish a “bed time routine” so she would “sleep through the night” sooner. But it has obviously had other benefits.
Some of my best childhood memories were spent at the library. I remember the pride I felt at getting my first library card – it was orange paper with a metal strip for imprinting on the checkout cards. You couldn’t get one until you could write your name, and I remember practicing and practicing until I could write all those letters (15 total!) at the then-precocious age of 4.
I remember the story lady at the library – she wasn’t very nice and vaguely resembled the Wicked Witch of the West. I remember checking out dozens of Nancy Drew Case Files and even Sweet Valley High books in middle school (blue card) until I graduated to an adult card (yellow) and discovered historical biographies and the Bronte sisters. I remember watching my mother check out the maximum number of books allowed (at the time it was 6) and reading all of them before they were due back.
I want to share all this with R, make her love reading and look forward to library trips like we were going to an amusement park. And I think I might start tomorrow, with her first-ever trip to the library.
Side note: Because some people are asking about the baby, he was born Friday at 5:56 p.m., 6 pounds, 10 ounces of adorableness that I HAVE YET TO SEE. After we were all packed and ready to leave yesterday for Pittsburgh, R came down with a cough and a fever and general malaise (which she has since transmitted to her mother). Not wanting to expose an infant not even out of the womb for a week to those toddler germy germs, I cancelled my trip. We have tentatively rescheduled for the first week in June, when Dave can go with and we can take a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo like we are grownups with children and families of our own or something. Seriously. How did that happen?